Friday, January 30, 2009

Turning a routine practice session into a team-building exercise

Loved this story in today's Washington Post about how the Caps took "a welcome break from the 82-game regular season grind" by splitting the players into two teams for a full scrimmage on the outdoor rink at a Maryland country club.

The "hotly contested intrasquad, three-on-three scrimmage" brought back memories for a lot of the players who grew up playing on "frozen lakes and ponds."

"It was awesome," Brooks Laich said. "If you looked at the guy's faces, every time someone made a play or a goal was scored, guys were hooting and hollering."

According to the Post article, "the idea to scrimmage rather than run through drills was hatched by Coach Bruce Boudreau, who also served as the linesman and referee. Boudreau has a long history of spicing up otherwise routine practice sessions and turning them into team-building exercises."

Last night's scrimmage, which consisted of two 15-minute periods, was another Boudreau special. [The team's goalies] "drafted" their teams after Wednesday's practice, and by the time the 30 minutes were over, the players were doubled over in laughter as they argued over the final score.

At one point during the scrimmage, Coach Boudreau "halted the scrimmage, called the players over to the bench and implored them to lighten up."

Said one player: "It was a nice break from the strenuous practicing and the businesslike atmosphere. Tonight we had a lot of fun."